Rheumatoid Arthritis :: Vitamin D protects against rheumatoid arthritis
Women with highest levels of vitamin D intake are about one third less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than women with the lowest levels.
Although vitamin D is best known for its role in building bones, it may also have effects on the immune system, senior author Dr. Kenneth G. Saag, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues report in the medical journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.
To determine the effect of vitamin D intake on rheumatoid arthritis risk, Saag’s team analyzed data from nearly 30,000 women, between 55 and 69 years of age, who participated in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. All of the women were rheumatoid arthritis-free at study entry in 1986, and vitamin D intake was ascertained through food frequency questionnaires.
The researchers pointed out that there was a trend toward a lower rheumatoid arthritis risk with greater intake of milk products.
Although the effects of vitamin D on the immune system are not yet fully defined, the results from this study suggest a possible role for vitamin D in reducing the risk of an immunologic disorder